Earthcaches

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

I watched a Black Snake eat a white mouse....

Nothing like a trail in the woods!
I took off this afternoon with the goal of finding two caches. Oh well, I only found one. Since my good friends blessed me with a gift premium membership today, I had to go! With my new job and its demands I have gotten tied down and not done enough geocaching. I've basically reserved geocaching for when I'm making a trip somewhere. This gives me new zeal to get out and find more caches. Thanks chanak80 and chickenlvr413!

Plastic or metal?








I pulled into the Piedmont Environmental Center on this beautiful, unseasonably warm day, parked the car and punched in the coordinates for the first cache. There are trails all over the place here. Nonetheless, with the leaves off the trees and good visibility, I preferred to take a straight line to the cache through the woods. As I approached the GZ for RPStew's 55th Birthday Bash Cache (GC4TBKZ) I had to wait out a muggle walking his dog on one of the trails. Once he was no longer a factor I quickly recovered the cache. I'd not seen this kind of cache before. I guess these are new. It looked like an ammo can but was plastic. I signed the log, made my trade and headed on to the next cache.

Again I cut across the land and through the woods disregarding the trails. Soon I was at the GZ. The cache for Weathered Smooth (GC3CB7K) page said it was pretty straight forward. I tracked into the GZ from three or four angles to get a good intersect. It usually put me right by a dead cedar. The tree trunk, still standing, was white and weathered smooth. It had to be this. I looked in every crevice I could find. No obvious (as the cache page stated) cache. I spent half an hour searching and then expanding my search. In the end I had to give up and log this one as a DNF. I later read that the last finder several months back had found it laying out and left it where it was. It is gone now.


I returned to the visitor's center. I'd never been inside so I took advantage of the opportunity.
In case you forgot your tent
Inside I found a few Indian arrowheads and ax heads in a display. The most interesting thing were the snake exhibits. There were about eight glass front window cages, most with snakes. Among them were rattlesnakes and copperheads as well as your garden variety black snake. While I was watching the manager told me he hoped I wasn't squeamish as he opened the back of the cage and tossed in a little white mouse. The mouse had no idea what was coming. The snake, obviously accustomed to food when the door opened, was on alert. He began to track the mouse. The mouse had not a clue. It wondered around until the first strike attempt by the snake. I watched as the mouse then scurried off, crossing over the snake's long body. As the mouse crossed over the snake the snake struck, biting itself. I realized that the snake was operating of movement more than visual acuity. After a few more strikes the snake had his prey. He balled up around it and continued to press his teeth into the mouse. The manager feeds the snakes once every ten days in winter. Imagine waiting another ten days to eat. Maybe that is why he took his time. I decided I'd seen enough and left him to enjoy his meal. To pick my spirits up, after the demise of the mouse, I visited the tee pee structure on the grounds. I wouldn't want to be in there tonight unless I had a good sleeping bag liner and a good fire.

Even though it was a short geocaching outing, it was fun. I wish tomorrow would cooperate. They are forecasting a 50 degree drop in temps as the Canadian cold air mass hits North Carolina along with rain.



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